JTAG debugging with a Bus Pirate, OpenOCD, and LPC1768

| tagged with
  • jtag
  • buspirate
  • arm

This was done on an LPCXpresso LPC1769 board. The debug harness was wired as follows,

LPCXpresso Signal Bus Pirate


Get OpenOCD from git,

$ git clone


$ ./bootstrap
$ ./configure --enable-bus-pirate
$ make
$ sudo make install

Create configuration file,

$ cat > openocd.cfg
source [find interface/buspirate.cfg]
buspirate_port /dev/ttyUSB0
buspirate_mode normal

gdb_memory_map enable
gdb_flash_program enable

source [find target/lpc1768.cfg]

Start OpenOCD,

$ openocd -f openocd.cfg


Start GDB and attach,

$ gdb -ex "target remote localhost:3333"GNU gdb (Ubuntu/Linaro 7.3-0ubuntu2) 7.3-2011.08
Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "x86_64-linux-gnu".
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
Remote debugging using localhost:3333
0x100000bc in ?? ()
(gdb) c
Program received signal SIGINT, Interrupt.
0x100000bc in ?? ()
(gdb) x/4i $pc
=> 0x100000bc:	and    0x111400(%esi,%eax,1),%ch
0x100000c3:	add    %al,(%eax)
0x100000c5:	add    %al,(%eax)
0x100000c7:	add    %al,(%eax)

Directly interacting with OpenOCD

Start a session,

$ nc localhost 4444
Open On-Chip Debugger

We can start by dumping the contents of FLASH,

> flash banks
flash banks
#0 : lpc1768.flash (lpc2000) at 0x00000000, size 0x00080000, buswidth 0, chipwidth 0
> dump_image blinky.bin 0x0 0x80000
dump_image blinky.bin 0x0 0x80000
dumped 524288 bytes in 222.975830s (2.296 KiB/s)

Let’s check to make sure we can round-trip the contents of FLASH,

> flash erase 0 0x0 last
> reset
JTAG tap: lpc1768.cpu tap/device found: 0x4ba00477 (mfg: 0x23b, part: 0xba00, ver: 0x4)

Confirm that the firmware is really gone.

Now let’s reflash the old firmware,

> halt
target state: halted
target halted due to debug-request, current mode: Thread 
xPSR: 0xa1000000 pc: 0x1fff0ba2 msp: 0x10007fb8
> flash write_image erase blinky.bin 0x0 bin
flash write_image erase blinky.bin 0x0 bin
auto erase enabled
wrote 524288 bytes from file blinky.bin in 441.431091s (1.160 KiB/s)	
> reset
JTAG tap: lpc1768.cpu tap/device found: 0x4ba00477 (mfg: 0x23b, part: 0xba00, ver: 0x4)

It works!

Flashing new firmware

First, build a .bin of the desired firmware. The LPC1769’s ROM bootloader verifies that the user code in FLASH is valid before booting by way of a checksum of the interrupt vector table. The checksum is of the first eight interrupt vectors and is stored in vector 7 (0x0000001c). The easiest way to ensure this is set correctly is to run the binary image through the following C,

#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <fcntl.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    int fw, count, crc;
    char buf[28];

    fw = open(argv[1], O_RDWR);
    // read fist 28 bytes
    read(fw, &buf, 28);

    // find 2's complement of entries 0 to 6
    for (count=0, crc=0; count < 7; count++) {
            crc += *((int*)(buf+count*4));
    crc = (~crc) + 1;

    // write it at offset 0x0000001C 
    lseek(fw, 0x0000001C, SEEK_SET);
    write(fw, &crc, 4);

    return 0;

Debugging on ARM

While sometimes my system’s native gdb will somehow understand the ARM architecture after attaching to the remote target, I haven’t figured out how to do this reliably. For this reason, I build gdb for ARM.

Start by grabbing a GDB source tarball; extract it, and then configure and build as follows,

$ ./configure --target=arm-none-eabi
$ make


$ gdb/gdb
(gdb) target remote localhost:3333
Remote debugging using localhost:3333
0x00000306 in ?? ()

Do what you desire.